SEIU-West is entering into a process to review the Local’s constitution.
Even though public health orders have been lifted effective July 11, 2021 in Saskatchewan, we all should remember that the pandemic is not ‘over’.
Check out SEIU-West President Barb Cape's video message for August 20, 2021:
Joey works at a hospital in Protective Services (formerly Security Services) where he is honored to be able to serve the public.
Nola has been a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) for the past 11 years, working in the field of Home Care.
Nola goes to people’s houses to provide care such as assisting people to get washed, dressed, transferred to their wheelchairs, toileting, bathing and administering medication, along with other tasks one needs to live independently in their homes.
Working through the pandemic has been crazy because she never knew if she was walking into an contagious setting and faced clients that didn’t believe the pandemic was real. She lived in fear for many months.
Approximately 115 workers at Stonebridge Crossing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, part of Esprit Retirement, have voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU-West.
Workers contacted the Organizing experts at SEIU-West earlier in the summer because they are fed-up with the chronic understaffing that they feel is contributing to declining Occupational Health and Safety standards throughout the workplace.
"These workers have stepped up to help residents throughout the pandemic for Esprit Retirement, now it's time for Esprit to recognize this stellar work and provide safe staffing, job security and better wages for their families," says Lead Organizer Stacey Lolacher.
Workers persisted in forming their union despite Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and were able to achieve their goal because SEIU-West is able to provide a safe method for any workplace to fulfil the requirements to form a union under the Saskatchewan Employment Act.
Throughout the pandemic, front line workers were called heroes for taking risks to keep business and health care operating in Saskatchewan.
It's time for front line heroes to come together and form a union to ensure their health and safety is prioritized, which includes earning livable wages and benefits, so they can continue working for the good of us all.
Candace works both in the mental health sector and within the community as a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) for the past 22 years.
Working through the pandemic, she had responsibility put upon her without compensation and lived with constantly changing protocols, procedures and work standards.
Ombudsman Report: Caring in Crisis
Saskatchewan – Today saw the release of the Saskatchewan Ombudsman’s report on the fatal COVID-19 outbreak at the Extendicare Parkside special care home in late 2020. SEIU-West extends its most sincere sympathies to all who lost a loved one living there, or in any of our province’s long-term care facilities, to COVID-19. SEIU-West also expresses outrage at the degree of mismanagement which, as documented in the report, resulted in the deaths of dozens of seniors at Parkside.
“This report is heartbreaking to read,” says SEIU-West President Barb Cape. “The residents and families of Parkside suffered so much. The staff struggled mightily to care for them as the outbreak got worse. And the report makes abundantly clear: they were all failed by the three organizations that were supposed to protect them: Extendicare Canada, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), and the Ministry of Health.
As detailed clearly in the Ombudsman’s report, Extendicare, the SHA and then-Minister of Health Jim Reiter knew as early as April 2020 that a COVID-19 outbreak could pose significant life-threatening challenges in Parkside.
“The scale of this tragedy was ultimately not due to COVID. It was due to a lack of leadership,” explains Cape “Parkside is an Extendicare facility, but Extendicare doesn’t bear the sole responsibility for what happened here. The report states clearly that the Minister of Health is ultimately responsible for long-term care in Saskatchewan. The Ministry and the SHA simply did not provide the necessary support, communication, or oversight.”
“When the COVID outbreak hit Parkside in November 2020, the workers at Parkside were already exhausted and doing their best with the few tools they had been given. Community spread was already rampant across the province at that point, despite the Premier’s persistent downplaying of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the report’s more shocking findings:
- The Ministry of Health and SHA do not set or enforce clear, universal, acceptable care-related standards for long-term care home operators; there are merely a vague set of “program guidelines” for special care homes (p. 44 & 47)
- By fall 2020, Paul Merriman’s Ministry and SHA officials were well aware that Parkside was not ready to manage a serious COVID-19 outbreak…but did nothing; (p. 57)
- The Sask Party government has known for at least a decade that the Parkside facility was in an unhealthy and substandard condition… but did nothing (p. 58);
“This report corroborates the stories of fear, stress and anxiety reported by SEIU-West members at Parkside and all staff of Saskatchewan’s long-term care system” says Cape. “It validates years of our advocacy work raising longstanding issues.
“If Premier Scott Moe and his government do not address the root problems that caused this tragedy, including the working conditions in those facilities, nothing is going to change. That is a risk we cannot afford to take—and that the people of Saskatchewan should not accept.”
Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) represents over 13,000 people across Saskatchewan. They include people who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors. They are joined by one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.
For more information or interviews (Barb Cape has availability today between noon and 1PM and 3PM onward), contact:
Project Coordinator, SEIU-West
306-230-5332 | [email protected]
Related Documentation (click to download):
July 24 was International Self-Care Day!
You sent us the BEST answers ever for low-no-budget self-care methods and below are all your answers!
Congratulations to our winners:
Lyndsay, Jackie, Robin, Danelle, and Denise
Martin is an office clerk at an urban hospital in Saskatchewan.
This past year has been tough on Martin as a health care worker. He has seen the devastation on visitors faces when they learn that they aren’t able to see their loved one due to crucial public health restrictions.
He’s seen the pain on employees' faces as they return to work each day with an increased expectation of their workload, as short staffing runs rampant.
Kyla has been a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) in the long-term care sector for the past five years.
The past year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic have been difficult on Kyla and her colleagues.
Monday, August 2nd is Saskatchewan Day. Saskatchewan is celebrating its 116th birthday!
If you’re off work this Saskatchewan Day, we truly hope you have a well-deserved, relaxing break. If you are working, we thank you for your service and celebrate the fact that, thanks to the organized efforts of past generations of workers, you’re being paid 1.5 times your usual hourly wage.
The Worker Safety Committee of SEIU-West is sponsoring up to six members to attend the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Occupational Health and Safety Conference.
WHEN: September 15 and 16, 2021
WHERE: Virtual platform - Zoom
WHO CAN APPLY: All SEIU-West members in good standing are eligible to apply. However, preference will be given to:
- Members who have never attended this conference before; and
- Members who are active members of the OH&S committee in their workplace.
HOW TO APPLY: Fill out this online Expression of Interest form or print out this printable PDF. Return the completed PDF form to the attention of the SEIU-West Worker Safety Committee at the Saskatoon office by fax (306-652-1392) or email ([email protected]) no later than August 27.
Make sure to rank which session you would most like to attend.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: SFL Conference Brochure.
*Note* If you are selected, we will complete the SFL registration form and pay the fees on your behalf.